3D printing has grown in popularity over the past few years. Businesses everywhere are utilizing this process. Many schools are incorporating 3D printers in their library resources for their students. It is extremely important to learn how to clean 3D printer bed. If you have experience with using a 3D printer, you would know that sometimes your prints will not come out the way you intended. The most common reason for print failure is that your printer bed is dirty and the print cannot adhere to it. There are so many things you can 3D print from working musical instruments to phone accessories. However, if you do not learn how and how frequently to clean your bed, you will not be able to continue making these things.
Cleaning Glass Beds
Glass printer beds are a very popular option. They are relatively easy to clean which makes them a great purchase. It is a very durable and smooth surface. If you are a frequent user of your printer, it is important to stay on top of your cleaning schedule, doing it at least once or a few times a month. It is actually recommended that you clean your bed after each print with a scraper. You can even use a ruler or a spatula from your kitchen. If you heat the glass bed, it will make it easier to scrape everything off. Be careful not to damage the surface with too much pressure.
If the scraper does not seem to get everything off, you should detach the bed and clean it using soap and warm water while applying force. This should remove any adhesives that were used. If your bed still contains substances on the surface, you can use a window cleaner or isopropyl alcohol. The alcohol should be above 70%. Make sure to wipe with a cotton cloth.
Cleaning PEI Sheets
Polyetherimide, also known as PEI, sheets are a growingly popular choice for 3d printer beds. They are known for good grip and easy removal of your printed pieces. They are very easy to apply to your bed and easy to clean. Cleaning regularly is required to ensure maximum grip of the surface. For a quick clean-up, you can just use soap and water.
For maintenance cleaning, using isopropyl alcohol is the most recommended method. Once again, the alcohol should be over 70% to ensure it will remove everything on the surface. Make sure the bed is entirely cool before cleaning it. Using a cloth, apply the isopropyl alcohol. If you do not have access to isopropyl, acetone is a good and easily obtainable alternative. Brake cleaner is also used to clean PEI sheets. Every few months, it is recommended to use sandpaper to smooth out your PEI sheet for an even surface.
Cleaning Adhesive Tape
Several different types of adhesive tape can be used on 3D printer beds, the most popular options being polyimide tape, masking tape, and painter’s tape. These are the cheapest options for printer beds and are really easy to apply. However, they are the most difficult to clean. Take a scraper or spatula and get off any residue stuck on the bed. You have to be extremely gentle as the tape can easily come off. If the tape is damaged or peeling, you can easily patch the spot with more tape.
Eventually, the tape will be overused and there will be too many holes. You are going to have to replace the tape. When it comes time for this, scrape and peel the existing tape off. Remove the bed and clean it with soap and water and make sure to allow it to completely dry before applying the new tape. Press out any air bubbles that may form.
Other 3D Printing Tips
- Never go too long in between cleanings.
- Experiment with different filaments & bed types to find which works best for you.
- Make sure your bed is a flat, level surface before any printing to ensure your print will come out correctly.
- Never let your printer get too hot, be aware of the temperature levels for the filament you are working with.
- Using an adhesive like hairspray or glue can help your print stick to the surface during printing.
- Store your filaments with desiccant to maintain dryness.
- Print failures may also be a result of your slicer, make sure you learn the program you are using to optimize your prints.
- You can hydro dip your prints to make them more aesthetically pleasing.
- Sandpaper and x-acto knives can help smooth your prints.
After You Learn How to Clean 3D Printer Bed
Now that you know how to clean different types of 3d printer beds, make sure you stay up to date on any maintenance that your printer needs. If you do not clean 3D printer bed, your prints will ultimately suffer.
Written by Jamie Murtha